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Texas’ migrant arrest law will remain on hold under new court ruling
Business | 2024/03/28 12:33
Texas’ plans to arrest migrants suspected of illegally entering the U.S. will remain on hold under a federal appeals court order that likely prevents enforcement of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s new immigration law until a broader decision on whether it is legal.

The 2-1 ruling late Tuesday is the second time a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has put a temporary hold on the the Texas law. It follows a confusing few hours last week the Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect, setting off anger and anticipation along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The same panel of appeals judges will hear arguments on the law next week.

“I think what we can draw from this, from the chaos that this has been are several conclusions,” said Lisa Graybill, vice president of law and policy at the National Immigration Law Center. “One is that this is clearly a controversial law. Two is that the politics of the justices on the bench are very clearly playing out in their rulings.”

Texas authorities announced no arrests made under the law during that short window on March 19 before the appellate panel stepped in and blocked it.

In Tuesday’s order, Chief Judge Priscilla Richman cited a 2012 Supreme Court decision that struck down portions of a strict Arizona immigration law, including arrest power. The Texas law is considered by opponents to be the most dramatic attempt by a state to police immigration since that Arizona law.

“For nearly 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that the power to control immigration — the entry, admission, and removal of noncitizens — is exclusively a federal power,” wrote Richman, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush.

The Justice Department has argued that Texas’ law is a clear violation of federal authority and would create chaos at the border. Texas has argued that President Joe Biden’s administration isn’t doing enough to control the border and that the state has a right to take action.

The Texas law, Richman wrote, “creates separate, distinct state criminal offenses and related procedures regarding unauthorized entry of noncitizens into Texas from outside the country and their removal.”

She was joined in the opinion by Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez, a Biden appointee.

Judge Andrew Oldham, an appointee of former President Donald Trump and a former aide to Abbott, dissented from the majority decision.


Supreme Court restores Trump to ballot, rejecting state attempts to ban him
Business | 2024/03/05 12:45
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously restored Donald Trump to 2024 presidential primary ballots, rejecting state attempts to ban the Republican former president over the Capitol riot.

The justices ruled a day before the Super Tuesday primaries that states cannot invoke a post-Civil War constitutional provision to keep presidential candidates from appearing on ballots. That power resides with Congress, the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Trump posted on his social media network shortly after the decision was released: “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”

The outcome ends efforts in Colorado, Illinois, Maine and elsewhere to kick Trump, the front-runner for his party’s nomination, off the ballot because of his attempts to undo his loss in the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The justices sidestepped the politically fraught issue of insurrection in their opinions Monday.

The court held that states may bar candidates from state office. “But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency,” the court wrote.

While all nine justices agreed that Trump should be on the ballot, there was sharp disagreement from the three liberal members of the court and a milder disagreement from conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett that their colleagues went too far in determining what Congress must do to disqualify someone from federal office.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson said they agreed that allowing the Colorado decision to stand could create a “chaotic state by state patchwork” but said they disagreed with the majority’s finding a disqualification for insurrection can only happen when Congress enacts legislation. “Today, the majority goes beyond the necessities of this case to limit how Section 3 can bar an oathbreaking insurrectionist from becoming President,” the three justices wrote in a joint opinion.

It’s unclear whether the ruling leaves open the possibility that Congress could refuse to certify the election of Trump or any other presidential candidate it sees as having violated Section 3.

Derek Muller, a law professor at Notre Dame University, said “it seems no,” noting that the liberals complained that the majority ruling forecloses any other ways for Congress to enforce the provision. Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote that it’s frustratingly unclear what the bounds might be on Congress.


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What the 14th amendment means for Donald Trump's presidential campaign
Business | 2023/12/21 15:22
Former President Donald Trump’s bid to win back the White House is now threatened by two sentences added to the U.S. Constitution 155 years ago.

The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday barred Trump from the state’s ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who swore an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it from holding office. It’s the first time in history the provision has been used to prohibit someone from running for the presidency, and the U..S. Supreme Court is likely to have the final say over whether the ruling will stand.

If it does — which many legal experts say is a longshot — it’s the end of Trump’s campaign because a Supreme Court decision would apply not just in Colorado, but to all states. It also could open a new world of political combat, as politicians in the future fish for judicial rulings to disqualify their rivals under the same provision.

Some conservatives have even considered using it against Vice President Kamala Harris, who raised bail money for those jailed during the violence following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They said that also should be considered an “insurrection” against the Constitution.

So far, very little in the real world. Aware that the case was very likely going to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 4-3 Colorado Supreme Court majority stayed their own order until Jan. 4 — the day before the state’s primary ballots are due at the printer — or until the Supreme Court rules.

Technically, the ruling applies only to Colorado, and secretaries of state elsewhere are issuing statements saying Trump remains on the ballot in their state’s primary or caucus.But it could embolden other states to knock Trump off the ballot. Activists have asked state election officials to do so unilaterally, but none have. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed, but all failed until Colorado.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the meaning of Section 3. The justices can take the case as quickly as they like once Trump’s campaign files its appeal, which is not expected this week. The high court then could rule in a variety of ways — from upholding the ruling to striking it down to dodging the central questions on legal technicalities. But many experts warn that it would be risky to leave such a vital constitutional question unanswered.

“It is imperative for the political stability of the U.S. to get a definitive judicial resolution of these questions as soon as possible,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote shortly after the ruling. “Voters need to know if the candidate they are supporting for president is eligible.”


Late Justice Sandra Day O’Connor honored at Supreme Court ceremony
Business | 2023/12/18 11:52
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was remembered Monday as a trailblazer who never lost sight of how the high court’s decisions affected all Americans.

O’Connor, an Arizona native who was an unwavering voice of moderate conservatism for more than two decades, died Dec. 1 at age 93. Mourners at the court on Monday included Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve in her role, and her husband Doug Emhoff.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke at a private ceremony that included the nine justices and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, as well as O’Connor’s family and court colleagues.

She would often say, ‘It was good to be the first, but I don’t want to be the last,’” Sotomayor said of O’Connor’s distinction as the first woman. She lived to see a record four women serving on the high court.

“For the four us, and for so many others of every background and aspiration, Sandra was a living example that women could take on any challenge, could more than hold their own in any spaces dominated by men and could do so with grace,” Sotomayor said.

O’Connor’s body lay in repose after her casket was carried up the court steps with her seven grandchildren serving as honorary pallbearers. It passed under the iconic words engraved on the pediment, “Equal Justice Under Law,” before being placed in the court’s Great Hall for the public to pay their respects.

Funeral services are set for Tuesday at Washington National Cathedral, where President Joe Biden and Chief Justice John Roberts are scheduled to speak.

O’Connor was nominated in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate, ending 191 years of male exclusivity on the high court. A rancher’s daughter who was largely unknown on the national scene until her appointment, she received more letters than any other member in the court’s history in her first year and would come to be referred to by commentators as the nation’s most powerful woman.

O’Connor had “an extraordinary understanding of the American people,” and never lost sight of how high court rulings affected ordinary Americans, Sotomayor said.

She was also instrumental in bringing the justices together with regular lunches, barbecues and trips to the theater. “She understood that personal relationships are critical to working together,” the justice said.


Trump gag order reinstated in New York civil fraud trial
Business | 2023/11/27 10:28
A New York appeals court Thursday reinstated a gag order that barred Donald Trump from commenting about court personnel after the former president repeatedly disparaged a law clerk in his New York civil fraud trial.

The one-sentence decision came two weeks after an individual appellate judge put the gag order on hold while the appeals process played out.

Trial judge Arthur Engoron, who imposed the restriction, said he now planned to enforce it “rigorously and vigorously.”

Trump attorney Christopher Kise called it “a tragic day for the rule of law.” Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, complained that the gag order was “nothing but attempted election interference, which is failing terribly.”

Engoron imposed the gag order Oct. 3 after Trump posted a derogatory comment about the judge’s law clerk to social media. The post, which included a baseless allegation about the clerk’s personal life, came the second day of the trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit.

James’ lawsuit alleges Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals. Trump denies any wrongdoing. The Republican 2024 front-runner contends the lawsuit is a political attack instigated by James and furthered by Engoron, both Democrats.

Over the trial’s first few weeks, Engoron fined Trump $15,000 for violating the gag order. The judge expanded the order — which initially covered only parties in the case — to include lawyers after Trump’s attorneys questioned clerk Allison Greenfield’s prominent role on the bench. She sits alongside the judge, exchanging notes and advising him during testimony.

Trump’s lawyers sued Engoron, challenging his gag order as an abuse of power.


Polish director demands apology from justice minister for comparing her film
Business | 2023/09/15 11:42
Film director Agnieszka Holland demanded an apology from Poland’s justice minister after he compared her latest film, which explores the migration crisis at the Poland-Belarus border, to Nazi propaganda.

Holland said Wednesday that she planned to bring defamation charges against Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro unless she receives an apology within seven days. She also demanded that he make a charitable donation of 50,000 Polish zlotys ($11,600) to an association that helps Holocaust survivors.

Holland’s feature film, “Green Border,” explores a migration crisis that has played out along Poland’s border with Belarus over the past two years. It takes a sympathetic approach toward the migrants from the Middle East and Africa who got caught up as pawns in a geopolitical standoff.

It also looks critically at the way Poland’s security services pushed back migrants who were lured to the border by Belarus, an ally of Russia.

Ziobro slammed the film earlier this week, saying: “In the Third Reich, the Germans produced propaganda films showing Poles as bandits and murderers. Today, they have Agnieszka Holland for that.”

He made his comment on the social platform X, formerly Twitter, on Monday, a day before the film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Holland noted in a statement that Ziobro, who serves as prosecutor general as well as justice minster, commented on her film without having seen it and that she believed his words amounted to defamation, calling them “despicable.”

“I cannot remain indifferent to such an open and brutal attack by a person who holds the very important constitutional position of minister of justice and prosecutor general in Poland,” she wrote in a statement from Venice dated Wednesday but published in Poland on Thursday.


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